Winter can be a time of greater isolation for seniors. Extra visits and phone calls from friends and family can help them stay connected. Community resources can also be found at bc211.ca.

Winter can be a time of greater isolation for seniors. Extra visits and phone calls from friends and family can help them stay connected. Community resources can also be found at bc211.ca.

5 ways to help senior friends and family this winter

bc211.ca offers community connections for all ages, throughout BC

For many families, winter is a time of busy calendars, holiday celebrations and sunny getaways. For seniors, however, the exact opposite is often true. That, paired with cold temperatures, decreased mobility and limited incomes can result in isolation that puts seniors at risk of physical, emotional and mental health concerns.

The good news is that support can be as close as bc211.ca, a BC-wide resource created in partnership with United Way that links residents to community, social and government resources on a comprehensive range of topics, from learning skills to mental health.

Health, finances among seniors’ common concerns

Seniors contacted bc211.ca for many different reasons between September 2017 and August 2018, but topping the list, outside housing and homelessness, were:

  • Health – 23.1 per cent of calls
  • Income & Financial Assistance – 16 per cent of calls
  • Transportation – 9 per cent of calls
  • Government Services – 8.7 per cent of calls
  • Mental Health – 6.8 per cent of calls
  • Basic Needs – 6.7 per cent of calls

The information sought reinforces the need to connect with seniors year-round, but especially at times that can be particularly isolating.

How can you help

1. Make time for a visit or to take a grandparent, friend or neighbour out for lunch or a drive. If you’re not close by, a regular phone call is a great way to check in, share news and stay connected. In an increasingly technology-driven society, seniors who are not as tech-savvy can be further isolated.

2. Include them in holiday festivities, such as school performances, or call to see if you can take them to church, the library or a favourite activity.

3. When you visit, look for signs that they could be struggling – little food in the fridge, for example, or an unusually unkempt appearance or home. These can signal physical or cognitive challenges, or depression.

4. Ask what they might need or want – a smartphone or tablet and a few lessons might let them “Facetime” with the grandkids, for example. Or maybe a gift card from a favourite restaurant could deliver a hot meal when they don’t feel up to cooking.

5. Look for community resources that might be able to help. bc211.ca can connect you to the full spectrum of services and organizations in your community, from transportation supports for those finding it difficult to get out, to medical and mental health services.

Optimized for mobile devices, bc211.ca connects individuals 24/7 with current, reliable information about community resources close to home, all easily accessed through the one-stop website as well as online chat daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.

In the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island, residents can also phone or text 2-1-1 and connect with someone 24/7, 365 days a year. Topics are also tailored to Indigenous, immigrant and senior and youth communities, making it simple to access the information you need.

Just Posted

Orca 1
Orcas: Our Shared Future

Royal BC Museum dives into the world of orcas with upcoming feature exhibition

Frank Ludwig in a forklift with his long hair during Trooper’s heyday. (Photo submitted)
Humble Island beginnings blossomed into storied career for Trooper keyboardist

Frank Ludwig got his start as a boy pumping the organ in a tiny downtown Chemainus church

Joan Miller with the Vancouver Island North Regional Film Commission says there’s much room for optimism in the region rebounding from COVID-19 and is excited about what the future holds for the region. Black Press File Photo
North Island film industry optimistic about post-COVID rebound

Interest in filming here is still high, according to film commission, once things open back up

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, has been filming in Langford and Colwood over the past two weeks. On April 7, filming will take place on the east side of the Esquimalt Lagoon. (Black Press Media file)
Netflix series ‘Maid’ filming in Colwood

10-episode Warner Bros. production filmed exclusively in Greater Victoria

Victoria mural artists Joshua Lundrigan (from left) and Paul Archer join Rob Chyzowski, co-owner of Belleville’s Watering Hole and Diner in front of an Archer-designed mural that went up on Thursday at the Inner Harbour restaurant. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Positivity rules with new outdoor mural from Victoria artist

Paul Archer teams with Belleville’s Watering Hole and Diner for patio project

Thomas Kuecks, Bellamy Kuecks and Paula Foot have come together to create an album of stories for children. (Nina Foot photo)
Moments with Miss Paula creates musical stories for kids

Music and the spoken word from Island pair available on streaming

Author Eden Robinson poses for a portrait during an interview in Toronto, Wednesday, May 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Trickster trilogy author Eden Robinson hosts online conversation and reading

Haisla and Heiltsuk will join fans in event hosted by Vancouver Island Regional Library

Nanaimo author Lawrence Winkler’s latest book is ‘The Last Casebook of Doctor Sababa.’ (Bulletin file photo/supplied)
Nanaimo author wraps up trilogy following ‘antihero’ Island doctor

Lawrence Winkler presents ‘The Last Casebook of Doctor Sababa’

‘Frank Ney’ by Patrick Flavin, ‘Millstone River Upper Falls’ by John Collison Baker, ‘Labyrinth of Dreams’ by MA Molcan, ‘On the Other Side’ by Liana Ravensbergen, ‘December Snow’ by Laurel Karjala and ‘Jacks Point’ by Dana Smiley (cropped, clockwise from top-left) are among the works in the Nanaimo Arts Council’s latest exhibition. (Photos courtesy Nanaimo Arts Council)
Nanaimo Arts Council presents its first online gallery show

Submissions now open for upcoming ‘Ekphrastic Celebration’ show

Dorothy Sevcov’s exhibition ‘Having Fun With Acrylics’ is on display at Art 10 Gallery until the end of the month. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Experimental paintings now on exhibit at Nanaimo’s Art 10 Gallery

Dorothy Sevcov’s ‘Having Fun With Acrylics’ on display through April

Courtenay artist Christine Boyer presents Alongside My Path: Native Wildflowers of Canada at Gallery Merrick from April 9 to 23. (Photo courtesy Christine Boyer)
Island painter shows off the wildflowers of Western Canada in first solo show

Courtenay’s Christine Boyer presents floral exhibit at Nanaimo’s Gallery Merrick

Nanaimo Harbourfront Library librarian April Ripley led the effort to create a Vancouver Island poetry booklet in recognition of National Poetry Month. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Nanaimo Harbourfront Library publishes booklet for National Poetry Month

Collection features winners of ‘Poem in your Pocket’ contest

SENCOTEN language revitalizationist and filmmaker Renee Sampson’s short film, Bringing Our Language Back to LIfe, shows online during the Reel 2 Real International Youth Film Festival, April 14-23. (Photo courtesy Wapikoni)
SENCOTEN language featured in short film created on Saanich Peninsula

Renee Sampson film highlights importance of passing on traditional languages to youth

Most Read